One of my happy places is in my kitchen, baking. I started making fondant cakes a couple of years ago and get a lot of requests from family, friends, and co-workers to provide the desserts for their events. I also get a lot of “You should really think about making this a business” comments. I’d love to get paid to bake. To me, it is art. My heart, soul, energy, and creativity all go into each one and when it is finished, it’s a little painful to watch the knife make that first cut.
But this blog isn’t about cakes. I wish it could be. Everyone likes cakes. Instead, it is about something that everyone likes to get up in arms about. I try to always be considerate of others feelings, hearts, and experiences when writing, and taking a moment to pause, and put myself in another’s shoes before responding usually ends with me holding my tongue all together. But if I shy away from a controversial topic for the sake of keeping peace, what does that make me?
I did start the process of obtaining the proper licensing to make and sell cakes from my home, when something stopped me in my tracks and launched me into a philosophical journey on my own.
It was this story: A Christian photographer in New Mexico who refused to shoot a lesbian wedding ceremony and was sued. She lost, and lost big. Her business, reputation, and finances destroyed. That story was followed by this one and this one, and got me to thinking, “As a whole-Bible believing Christian, What would I do if asked to make a wedding cake for a gay couple?” Honestly, I didn’t know. I had never even considered it before.
This blog isn’t about the morality or theological correctness or incorrectness of homosexuality. That’s a conversation for a face-to-face coffee date. This is more about the question, “What would happen to me if I said ‘no?'” It’s about rights, and freedom, both of the homosexual couple and of the religious person. These stories beg the question, “Can rights and freedoms exist for both parties harmoniously?” I don’t know, but when you read these articles, it’s not looking too good.
I love people. Short people, tall people, gay people, straight people, white people, black people, Asian people, people in the womb and outside of it, pro-choice people, pro-life people, people who live behind white picket fences and those on the streets, democrat, republican, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got human DNA, it’s hard for me to see you as anything other than a masterpiece of an indescribable creator, and to see myself as anything more that just as flawed as anyone.
So when words like “Hate” and “Bigot” are hurled at those of us who view a lifestyle as contrary to God’s design, we call foul. Hate? That hurts my heart. It’s such a powerful word that, much like love, has been grossly over and misused, and unlike love, has been brilliantly used as a marketing semantic to sway public opinion and slowly strip the rights away from those who hold the Bible to be truth. Yes, we absolutely want to eradicate hate. But real hate. When we eradicate disagreement, we become 1930s Germany, and no one wins. Like I say to my children, “We need to use our words properly”.
The Double Standard
Christians don’t have a perfect tract record for the treatment of others, I’ll be the first to agree. And the reality of those specific examples in history saddens me, too. But it seems as though the pendulum of tolerance is in full swing to the extreme opposite side. I would not expect or fight to require a Hindu to serve me a cheeseburger. Religious based Carols have been removed from public school Christmas programs so as not to offend the Atheist, and the student whose gender identity is still undecided can choose which sports team he or she wants to play for. Consideration and accommodation is being made to respect the feelings and convictions of every group except for the Christian.
The LGBT community has fought so hard for so long to get to where they are today: the right to be who they are and live what they believe. But the freedoms that are held so dear to many of them are the same ones that some are fighting to take away from others. Mutual respect means it goes both ways. I respect your sexual orientation, and you respect my beliefs.
“Coexist” is a popular word used by those taking up these efforts, when forcing Christians to violate their beliefs is actually the opposite of coexisting – it’s forced conformity. Where is the tolerance for these people and their faith? Or is open mindedness only for those with one point of view?
Human nature and Utopia
My state of Washington recently voted to allow gay marriage. On this issue, I didn’t vote. I just left it blank. I didn’t know what to put down. While my biblical beliefs tell me that homosexuality is a sin, I also don’t feel that it is my job to stop people from sinning. It would be impossible to stop people from sinning, I can’t even stop myself. A “yes” vote would be condoning said sin, while a “no” vote would be saying that what other people chose to do is somehow up to me. Since I didn’t agree with either, I just moved on to the next bubble.
It doesn’t bother me if you’re gay. I think a person is defined by so much more than being gay or straight, and if you want to get married, then go do it, but I expect to be afforded the same respect and not required to use my art to celebrate the occasion. How is that not discrimination? I’ll tell you: If a gay person asks me to make a cake for a birthday, celebration of a promotion, or just about anything else, I’d do it in a heartbeat. A person who hated gays wouldn’t do that. Bakers like me don’t want to turn these orders down because the customer is gay, but because the wedding is. Are events now a protected class? Race, religion, gender, and church potlucks?
But I also understand the fear of regression. If businesses are allowed to refuse service to anyone in the name of religious freedom the potential for abuse is great. People on the left side of the political spectrum tend to see legislation in favor of protecting religious freedom and their minds go straight back to a wild west culture where minorities and homosexuals lose out on jobs or opportunities just because of who they are. There are people out there who aren’t wanting to adhere to their faith, but truly do hate, and would take advantage in a regulationless world, I’m not denying that that exists. And that is unacceptable, too. So what should be done? Where then is the balance, or are we all destined to step on each others toes, forever infringing on one anothers liberties?
Utopia will always be fiction as long as human nature is at play. We could be adults about it. We could agree to disagree. We could understand that offenses are a part of life and move on to any of the other 10,000 photographers in the phone book, but if the cases mentioned above set the precedent, I can’t say that I’m hopeful.
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